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Student Life

7 Ways to Start a New Semester Off Right

January 14, 2022

The start of a new semester tends to come with a lot on the to-do list. Don’t let that put you off! Knowing how to kick-start a new term can really impact all aspects of your time at school. Whether it’s your first semester or your last, preparing yourself to begin the new term is important so you can be successful. 

Check out this list with the top 7 ways to help you start this semester off on the right foot.

1. Staying organized is key

Getting organized and staying organized can be hard, but it can help your course work, as well as your workflow at the start of a new semester, and will have tremendous benefits to your stress levels. There are many amazing online organization tools and apps such as Goodnotes, MyHomework, Google Workspace or even a physical calendar that can keep all of your assignments and notes in one place. You can file your work into separate folders based on the class or sections, color-coding, and highlighting the most important stuff. With so many classes being online or hybrid, many professors are using slideshows during lectures. You should get in a habit of asking them to send you a copy so you can look back while studying. It may also be posted online where you submit assignments. Also, staying on top of your calendar and updating it with due dates and important events will help you to stay ahead of schedule. Being organized with your time and schedule will keep you on task so you don’t procrastinate.

Pro Tip: Scan any important paper documents or notes to an online folder for later. This will help you avoid having to dig through mountains of notes and random sheets of paper again. 

2. Making campus your home away from home

At the start of a new semester, most students will be either returning to campus or are heading there for the very first time. Either way, this new address, new roommate, or new city will be your home away from home. At first, this can seem pretty overwhelming but you can bet everyone is as nervous as you when heading to campus. As you build friendships and get deeper into your course work, heading back to campus will feel like putting on your favorite comfy sweatshirt. It will feel natural and familiar after a while. You will probably even miss it while you are away!

Pro Tip: Bring something that reminds you of home to have if you get homesick!

3. Stay informed about what’s happening on campus

With college comes a whole lot of terms you’ve never heard of before, such as enrollment, course catalog, exam registration, and withdrawals.

It can be pretty daunting when:

a) You’re not really sure what you’re supposed to do,

b) Where you need to be,

c) And when you should be doing it.

One thing that can save you the added stress of college life is downloading any available calendars or information from your university’s or college’s website before the new semester starts. It could be mid-terms or finals schedules and the campus map, or even looking up groups or clubs on social media so you can connect with other students at your school about classes, lectures, and registration times.

Pro Tip: Note your drop, withdraw, and refund policies before classes start. Consider purchasing GradGuard’s Tuition Insurance to provide a reimbursement should you withdraw for a covered illness or injury at any time during the semester.

4. Keep Your Student ID With You at All Times

At last, a shiny new student card with your name and photo all over it! It’s proof that you’re now a member of your dream school. Not only will your student ID be your badge to get access to your dorm, campus buildings, and the library, it is also how you may pay for meals and snacks in the student union. Some classes even use your student ID card or your student number for attendance. You’ll get your card once you’ve enrolled and it’ll stay with you until your time at university is over. Just try not to lose it or get it stolen. If it is however,  you can check with your student services to get a replacement card, though it will cost you some money.

Pro Tip: Did you know your student ID can also save you money? Check out student discounts on stuff such as entertainment, event tickets, tech, clothing and more!

5. Books, Books, and, YES, more Books!

Do college classes even require textbooks anymore? Yes, they actually do and many online ones require them as well! Course books and other reading material will be your lifeline during your time in college. You can stay one step ahead of any stress by purchasing your books a few weeks before your new semester starts. Textbooks are not all created equal and some can be quite costly, so be on the lookout for what you need at a second-hand bookstore or in the used section. Some classes will require that you purchase a digital version of the book or an online access code. Unfortunately, these can not be usually be purchased secondhand and are often some of the most expensive materials needed for class.

Pro Tip: Before you buy a new or even used book, see if the bookstore allows rentals. Many times, you can rent these for a fraction of the purchase price AND you can still highlight and take notes. Win-win!

6. Managing your time

Life in college can be vastly different than anything in your life up to this point. The rigid structure of high school and bell schedules is long gone. From managing your personal time to sleep, do chores, and hangout with friends, to going to class, studying, and doing other assignments, it can be hard not to get overwhelmed!

If you’re able to master the art of managing your time for studying, work, and your personal life early on in the semester you will feel better come the end of the semester and things get even more crazy. Dedicating the right amount of time to your education, work commitments, socializing, and of course, just for yourself is critical and will ensure you get the most out of each. Sure, your student years will involve social events with your friends, but at the end of the day it’s all about balance. Tipping the scales too far to one side can have dramatic effects on the other. Try a few different things to find what works for you to make sure that you are leaving enough time for all the important things in you life, but sometimes you might just have to say “no”.

Pro Tip: Try to pick your classes on block days so other days are left open for studying, a part-time job, or fun stuff. For example, look for classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays only, leaving you able to do other things on Tuesdays and Thursdays!

7. Remember to have fun!

You’ve probably heard it a million times before, but your time in college will turn out to be some of the best years of your life. Of course, there are exams, essays, and lots of homework, but studying and diving deep into a major you love will turn out to be so much better than you thought. Knowledge is power and can open so many doors for you in the future, so soak it up while you can! You’ll meet people from all walks of life so make time to network straight away, join extracurricular activities, and share your passions with the others around you.

Health Student Life

Mental Health Tips for Neurodiverse College Students

January 8, 2022

Photo by Eliott Reyna on Unsplash

Neurodiversity describes the range of behavioral traits and brain function across the human population. The unique wiring of a neurodiverse person’s brain causes them to think, react, and learn differently. Autism, attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are examples of neurodiverse conditions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one in every 54 kids gets diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. The rates of ADD and ADHD are even higher. So, in response to neurodiversity prevalence, the neurodiversity movement sparked to challenge the negative connotation of “learning disabilities.”

Neurodiverse college students can excel, especially with tweaks to teaching methods, daily self-care practices, and innovative academic tools.

Personal Strategies for Better Learning

Whether a student has neurodiverse tendencies or not, acclimating to a college campus can be challenging. For many young adults, a dormitory is the first place they’ve lived away from home.

Without parental guidance and a familiar routine, neurodiverse students may struggle with large lecture halls and the overall “hands-off” approach college professors tend to take. However, there are many tactics neurodiverse students can implement to get ahead of the curve.

A recent article by Affordable Colleges Online shares several apps that can help neurodiverse students manage stimuli, take notes, and more.

●  Task Management: For students with ADD, the iOS app 30/30 timer encourages students to work on one task for 30 minutes, break for 30 minutes, and repeat until complete. Another option is Google Play’s StayOnTask. This app also uses a timer that randomly reminds students to focus on the designated assignment.

●  Overstimulation: Meditating can help autistic college students cultivate calm in hectic environments. The app Headspace offers guided meditations suitable for all levels. Another great tool is The Miracle Modus app, which provides soothing images and sounds that help students recalibrate to the outside world.

●  Note Taking: When students upload a PDF, e-book, Word document, or PowerPoint to the app Natural Reader, it converts the material into audio. This is an excellent tool for those with dyslexia. On the other hand, the app OpenDyslexic incorporates a font style that helps dyslexic students navigate the reading process better.

Educator Influence

Professors and teachers also have a significant impact on the success of neurodiverse college students. By implementing a teaching style and classroom setting accessible to all learning types, students can gain the confidence to reach their full potential.

Universal Design is the official term for these accessible learning environments. Educators can transform their classrooms with the following methods.

●  Provide varied ways for students to showcase knowledge

●  Use more than one method for assessing students’ efforts

●  Make sure students have a clear understanding of expectations

●  Accommodate a range of learning styles

Self-Care

All-nighters before an exam, junk food consumption, and partying on a Tuesday may be typical in a college environment, but that doesn’t mean these behaviors are healthy. Since staying focused can already be a challenge for neurodiverse students, having a daily self-care routine can ensure academic success as well as physical and mental wellness.

The following tips can help neurodiverse college students get the most out of their university years.

●  Be wary of perfectionist tendencies; learn to let go once an assignment is complete

●  Keep track of daily tasks with an electronic calendar

●  Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep every night

●  Eat nourishing foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein

●  Move your body daily

Medical checkups can also fall to the wayside when young adults enroll in college. It can be especially tough to stay consistent with dental appointments. A study found that 9% of kids and adolescents fear the dentist. This negative association is also prevalent in neurodiverse people sensitive to drilling noises and other teeth-cleaning mechanisms. However, bi-annual teeth cleanings are imperative for overall health, so finding a coping mechanism for appointments will pay off in the long run.

The Future Is Bright

Like sociologist Judy Singer said in the 1990s, neurodiverse people are not disabled; their brains work differently than those of neurotypical people. With the right tools, teaching methods, and daily self-care practices, neurodiverse college students can contribute significantly to the world. 

BIO: Dan Matthews is a writer with a degree in English from Boise State University. He has extensive experience writing online at the intersection of business, finance, marketing, and culture.

Adulting Student Life

Preparing to Buy a New Car

January 6, 2022

Buying a new car can be a very exciting experience, but there are a few things you must consider to prepare for the responsibility you are taking on. Here is a list of factors to consider when looking for a new vehicle:

  • New VS. Used
  • Auto Insurance
  • Payment

New VS. Used

Even though driving a car right off the lot with zero miles and that amazing new car smell is thrilling, a used vehicle that has time left on the factory warranty can be just as reliable and more affordable for a student than a new car. New cars have the appeal of never having a previous owner and can have all the features and new technology available with a warranty in case something were to happen. They can also be very expensive with a higher payment and cost more to insure. If you opt for a used car, it may not have every feature that you want, but it will cost less to insure, you might not have a car payment, and they can hold their value longer.

Insurance

When looking at possible cars you may want to purchase, consider how much the monthly payment will be with insurance.  It is illegal to drive without auto insurance so this factor should also be included in your estimated monthly payment.  It may be nice to own your dream car but owning sports models and SUV’s often cost more.  Economy cars are often the most reasonable choice for students living on a limited budget.  With that being said, used cars are also a great option.  Buying used cars give students a bigger selection of vehicles to choose from without exceeding a reasonable monthly payment.

Payment for Purchasing a Car

Although it would be nice to have the money up-front, students often take out a loan to help manage their car payments.  If you find yourself in this situation, make sure you look into multiple lenders before making your final decision.  The internet is a great place to search lenders and compare rates of interest.  Be sure to note if the lender requires a co-signer or a guarantor, more often than not that can just be a parent or legal guardian who is of age.  Some lenders may provide lower rates of interest if you are able to obtain a co-signer.  The interest rate, terms and conditions and the repayment amount are the three main factors to negotiate with each potential lender.  It may vary lender to lender but the details of your loan are often directly related to your FICO score, also known as your credit score.

A major issue students run into is improper financial planning.  Before getting a loan, make sure you prepare for your repayment plan.  It is important that you figure out how many installments you can afford to pay and at what value those installments can be.  If you are forced to pay late on your payments or you default on your repayment plan, your credit history will be damaged and your FICO score will lower.  By planning ahead, you can make regular payments that can help increase your FICO score.

By preparing for your loan before contacting a credit facility, you will increase your chances of approval because you will appear to be more reliable.  As always, make sure you do your homework before agreeing to a financial contract!

Buying a new car, or even your first car, is very exciting. Be sure to do your homework and your research when deciding which vehicle is best for you.

Health Student Life

Medical Appointments College Students Shouldn’t Put Off

December 28, 2021

When you’re in college, making medical appointments for preventative care probably isn’t high on your priority list. You’re young, healthy, and might not yet have health insurance to cover expensive medical bills

But, it’s important to understand that you’re not invincible or immune from certain things – even at your young age. 

Even in college, it’s important to receive regular care to ensure you stay healthy as you continue your journey into adulthood. Whether you’re new to setting a schedule for yourself or you’re just starting to take your health more seriously, let’s cover a few medical appointments you shouldn’t put off. 

Regular Dental Cleanings

It’s easy to ignore your oral health, even after college. But, now is the time to make it a priority and create a habit of seeing a dentist at least once a year. Regular cleanings typically don’t break the bank, and seeing your dentist annually can help you to avoid more expensive and painful procedures, like: 

  • Root canals
  • Extractions
  • Fillings
  • Gingivitis treatment

Your oral health is more linked to other areas of your overall wellness than you might realize. It’s not enough to brush your teeth twice a day anymore. Make a dental appointment as soon as possible, and your whole body will be better off because of it. 

Annual Checkups

Now is the time to establish a relationship with a primary care provider. By seeing a doctor annually, you can talk about any health concerns you might have. A doctor can also give you advice on how to take care of yourself properly, especially once they have an understanding of your family medical history. 

Many primary care providers will also regularly do blood work to monitor your health and stay on top of any changes that might occur from year to year. Things like blood pressure and cholesterol levels can be seen in lab results, and knowing where you might need to make changes to stay healthy is important. 

Wellness exams are designed to keep you healthy and reduce your risk of developing a serious medical condition. If you do end up having some kind of condition or illness, yearly checkups will make it easier to manage. A primary care provider will work with you on a treatment plan to keep you as healthy as possible. 

A good rule of thumb is to schedule an appointment with your primary care provider every year before school starts. It’s a great way to start the year out on the right foot, knowing you’re healthy. 

Additionally, women should make annual appointments with a gynecologist. College-aged women aren’t immune from certain types of cancer, including: 

  • Breast cancer
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Cervical cancer

Yearly appointments with an OBGYN can screen for these and other potential issues, and ensure that your reproductive system is healthy. 

If you’ve been putting off medical appointments or simply haven’t been giving them much thought, now is the time to start. By scheduling regular check-ups now, you’re taking charge of your health at a young age, which will make it easier to stay strong and healthy as you get older. 

BIO: Sam Bowman has a passion for learning. As a seasoned professional writer, he specializes in topics about people, education, tech and how they merge. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.

Student Life

10 Must Watch Family Holiday Movies

December 21, 2021

It is nearing the end of December and with that comes the end of the holiday season… This close to the season calls for a comprehensive round up of some of the most nostalgic, iconic holiday classics. Watching holiday movies is such a fun activity that families can do together to spend time with one another while students are home on break. As kids grow up and become teenagers, the desire to spend time as a family becomes less appealing, so thinking of ways that sound fun to do as a family is so important.  

Here is a list of ten must-watch holiday movies:

The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

This movie is about a heartless creature (The Grinch) who has no holiday cheer and decides he is going to ruin Christmas for the citizens of Whoville. With the help of his ill-fated dog, Max, the Grinch descends from his house upon the mountain top to snipe all Christmas related items and decor from the town. There is a slight obstacle that gets in the way of his plan to ruin Christmas when he meets a sweet girl named Cindy Lou Who. This movie is available to be watched on Hulu, Peacock, Youtube, Apple TV, and Amazon Prime. 

Elf (2003)

This movie is about Buddy, a human who was accidentally transported to the North Pole as a baby and was raised by elves there. When he becomes an adult, he realizes that he does not fit in with the other elves and journeys to New York in an attempt to find out where he really comes from. It is there that he meets his real father, causing a series of chaotic events that unfold in the city. This movie is available to be watched on Hulu, HBO Max, Amazon Prime, and Youtube. 

The Polar Express (2004)

This movie is about a doubting young boy who embarks on an extraordinary train ride that ventures him to the North Pole, where he encounters some interesting people and friends that help him realize that the spirit of Christmas lives on in the people who choose to believe. This movie is available on many different streaming platforms, which include HBO Max, Youtube, Apple TV, and Amazon Prime. 

Home Alone (1990)

This first movie in the Home Alone Series is about a young boy who gets left alone at his family home in Chicago when his family reluctantly forgets him there on the way to the airport for their family trip to Paris. When Kevin wakes up the next day, he realizes his family is nowhere to be found and is happy to believe that his wish for his family to leave him alone has come true, until his excitement turns to concern as two con men begin attacks of robbery on his family home. He is left alone to try and ward off these thieves and protect the house himself. This movie is available on Disney+, Youtube, Amazon Prime, and Apple TV. 

A Christmas Story (1983)

This movie is about a young boy who attempts to convince his parents of this importance 

of him receiving his dream Christmas present, which is a “Red Ryder Air Rifle.” The other half of the time, he spends dodging a bully. It is up to him to maintain both his hopes and self preservation. This movie is available to watch on Hulu, HBO Max, Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Youtube, TBS, and TNT. 

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

This movie is about Jack Skellington, the friendly neighborhood Pumpkin King who becomes bored of his annual routine of scaring the town this year. He stumbles upon a beautiful, joyful, brightly colored Christmas town and decides that he will take over the role of Santa Claus in order to experience a new life. This movie is available on Disney+, Youtube, Amazon Prime, and Apple TV. 

The Santa Claus (1994)

This movie is about a divorced dad, Scott, who has custody of his son on Christmas Eve. Scott is very reluctant to believe this, but he has killed Santa Claus on Christmas Eve and is magically transported to the North Pole, where an elf tells him that he now must take Santa’s place and do so before next Christmas. Scott believes that this has to be a dream, but soon comes to the conclusion that this must be real as, over the course of the year, he grows a white beard and starts to fill out. This movie is available on Disney+, Youtube, Amazon Prime, and Apple TV.

Unaccompanied Minors (2006)

This movie is about a group of five minors who get trapped at an airport when a blizzard hits on Christmas Eve. The kids have a chance to run wild and get to experience some fun at the airport by sliding down baggage chutes and driving golf carts. The kids present an unmatched level of stress and irritation for the airport official and his assistant. This movie is available to watch on Netflix, Youtube, Apple TV, and Amazon Prime. 

Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas (2004)

Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas is a selection of short stories, rather than a film. There are 5 stories and each story is about 10 minutes long. Stories include Belles On Ice, Christmas Impossible, Christmas Maximus, Donald’s Gift, and Mickey’s Dog-Gone Christmas.This movie is available on Disney+, Apple TV, and Amazon Prime. 

Arthur Christmas (2011)

This movie is about the behind the scenes work that goes on to accomplish the success that encompasses Christmas. One year, when Santa Claus forgets to deliver a present to one child, out of a hundred million, it becomes Santa’s youngest who is tasked with saving the day. Arthur, Santa’s youngest son, sets out on his mission to deliver this young boy’s present before the new day, Christmas day, dawns. This movie is available on Hulu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Youtube, and Apple. 

Spend some time together this holiday season before heading back to work or returning to campus in January. Happy watching!

Adulting Student Life

Understanding Student Loan Interest Rates

December 16, 2021

What Is Student Loan Interest?

Loans are not free. When you borrow money, you will not only have to repay the money you borrowed, but you will also have to pay interest to the lender.

The best explanation of interest is that it’s the cost of borrowing money. Whether you have federal or private student loans, you will be charged interest until the debt is completely paid off. Thus, when you are through the process of repaying the loan, you’ll pay back the original loan amount (known as the original principal) plus a percentage of the remaining balance (interest).

Private student loan interest rates range from approximately 1.04% APR (annual percentage rate) to 14.50% APR. Many private student loan lenders provide both fixed and variable interest rates, allowing qualified students to pick the option that best suits their needs. The interest rate you qualify for will be determined by your creditworthiness and, if applicable, that of your cosigner. On student loan lender comparison pages, you can quickly compare lender rates, terms, and advantages.

A simple daily formula or a compounding interest formula are commonly used to calculate interest. It’s essential to know the differences between these two formulas to understand how interest is calculated.

How Does a Simple Interest Formula Work?

Once you have a simple interest loan, also known as the simple daily interest formula, interest is calculated based on your remaining principal balance. This formula is used to calculate interest on all federal student loans. Some private student loans will also utilize the simple daily interest calculation formula, which you can find out in your loan’s terms and conditions.

How does the compound interest formula work?

In the case of the compound interest formula, the interest of your loan is calculated based on your interest rate to your principal (the original amount you borrowed) as well as any outstanding or unpaid interest that has been added to your loan. That is, the cost of your loan will be calculated based on both the original loan amount and any ongoing interest. Sometimes people refer to this as interest on interest.

How Is Student Loan Interest Calculated?

Let’s look at how student loan interest is calculated and how much your loan will cost. Federal student loans which can either be subsidized or unsubsidized loans mostly have fixed, low-interest rates. Whereas private student loans come from private lenders, each private loan will have its terms and conditions. While a private lender may use the simple daily interest formula, they may use a compound interest formula to determine the daily cost of your loan.

Simple Interest Formula

The simple interest calculator estimates an amount that includes the principal plus interest.

Simple Interest Equation (Principal + Interest)

A = P (1 + rt)

Where:

A indicates the Total accumulated Amount (principal + interest)

P indicates the Principal Amount

r indicates the Rate of Interest per year in decimal; r = R/100

t indicates the Period (months or years)

Compound Interest Formula

To use the compound interest formula you need to know the principal amount, annual interest rate, time factor, and the number of compound periods. Once you have all figures, you can calculate the compound interest.

The formula for compound interest, including principal sum, is:

A = P (1 + r/n) (nt)

Where:

A indicates the future value of the investment/loan, including interest

P indicates the principal loan amount

r indicates the annual interest rate

n indicates the number of times that interest is compounded per unit t

t indicates the time the money is invested or borrowed for

Understanding how interest works while repaying student loans may go a long way toward lowering your borrowing expenses, whether for student loans or any other sort of loan you may take out in the future.

BIO: Robert McMillen is an entrepreneur, finance professional, consultant, and passionate writer at Instant Loan Online. For many years using his industry knowledge and experience he has helped his clients to create more wealth and reduce costs.

Student Life

Here’s Why Every Student-Athlete Should Get a Part-Time Job

December 3, 2021

There are many benefits to being a student-athlete. You get to proudly represent your university while having access to your school’s exclusive training facilities and equipment. You form a bond with your fellow players and learn teamwork and sportsmanship. You also develop healthy habits, staying mentally and physically fit to excel in your performance. Many student-athletes also receive financial assistance to help fund their tuition, campus housing, and other school expenses.

However, it’s not all perks and glory. Being a student-athlete entails hard work, discipline, and commitment. You must meet all that is required of a student and an athlete, learning to effectively manage your time between classes and practices, as well as exams and athletic competitions.

Aside from practicing and training while maintaining your GPA, add finding a part-time job to your busy schedule. Even though you can now monetize your name, image, and likeness as a college athlete, getting a part-time job won’t just earn you some extra cash, it will also teach you real-life lessons as you transition to adulthood.

Here are some valuable things you can learn from getting a part-time job while balancing sports and studies.

The Importance of People Skills

As a student-athlete, you get to train with people who share the same interests and values. You know how to trust and communicate with each other on the court or on the field to achieve a common goal. 

However, when you land a part-time job, you will often find yourself working with individuals with different personalities and beliefs, with different goals and commitments. You might not even like some of these people and some of them might not like you. It could be a co-worker in a restaurant who feels your lack of experience is backing up service. Or a supervisor with instructions and criticisms you don’t always agree with.

But to do your job, you must learn to work with this team. You’ll have to learn how to effectively communicate with them. You need to actively listen, understand, and empathize to minimize miscommunication and conflicts, and instead build trust, rapport, and respect. You must also learn how to receive feedback constructively, without being reactive and defensive.

The ability to positively interact with others, despite having diverse interests and backgrounds, allows you to form effective working relationships and helps you succeed at work and in life.

The Power of a Positive Attitude

After a long week of class lectures, project deadlines, and rigorous training drills, the last thing you may want to do is report to your Saturday shift at a local coffee shop—especially after a customer got upset with you the last time for misspelling her name and for topping her frappe with whipped cream after she specifically told you not to.

Instead of dwelling on the mishaps, overcome these challenges by looking at things with optimism. Learn from your mistakes and aim to better yourself. If you focus too much on the negatives, you might prevent yourself from improving. So, instead of dreading another blunder, smile at your next customer and spell out his name before you scribble it on his cup. Then repeat his order to make sure you got it right.

When you make a habit of seeing the bright side of things, you can take on even the most challenging situations with a positive mindset and view mistakes and setbacks as opportunities to learn and become better.

The Goal of Financial Freedom

The average professional athlete earns over $50,000 a year, with the top earners making almost $90,000 annually. If you wake up tomorrow and get drafted as one of the youngest players in history—congratulations! For most student-athletes though, it may take several years longer before you get your big break.

Instead of sitting on the bench, working and earning your own money teaches you to appreciate the value of every dollar. You won’t have to rely on your parents for cash as you take the first step toward financial independence. You will learn how to properly manage your finances and build good credit as a student.

Earning money from a part-time job helps ensure you pay your monthly balance on time. Establishing good credit while you’re young teaches you to become more reliable and responsible and positively impacts your ability to get a job, utility services, better insurance rates, better housing options, and more.

Success in a Different Career

While there are nearly half a million NCAA student-athletes, a much lower number make it to pro after college. Like any big game, finding a job inside or outside of sports requires hard work, discipline, and a solid game plan. Taking on a part-time job while studying can improve your employment prospects and help you succeed in your future career, whether it’s on the sports field or in the corporate arena.

Working part-time as a student-athlete does not only teach you to manage your time, but you also get to find and develop your other strengths. You can try different career options. You can find a job in health and fitness as a coach or trainer. You can try the food and restaurant industry as a member of the wait staff. You can also consider online gigs and do freelance work as a social media manager, virtual assistant, online tutor, or graphic designer.

Final Word

Devoting even just a few hours a week over four years of college gives you hundreds of hours of shadowing or internship experience. This equips you with valuable knowledge and skills that can help you stand out in any career you choose.

Safety Student Life Transition

Finding Your First College Apartment: A Checklist

November 29, 2021

For many young people, moving into an off-campus college apartment is an exciting first step to independence. But before you can enjoy your newfound freedom, you have to find a suitable apartment and arrange the move.

Here’s our college apartment checklist to help make the process easier.

Finding the Right Apartment

Students need to consider more than just price and location when looking for a college apartment. You should also consider:

Distance

How close to campus do you want to be? If you have your own transportation, you could expand your search to neighborhoods further away, where you may find a better apartment at a lower price. 

Safety

If you will be walking or biking to and from campus, safety should be a top concern. How safe is the neighborhood and what security features does the apartment complex have?

College community

If you want to be part of the student social scene, then an apartment near campus would probably be ideal. If, however, you would prefer less social distractions, choose a quieter neighborhood.

Amenities

What type of amenities would make your life easier — laundry facilities, communal areas like pools or gyms, or nearby restaurants and shops?

Access to public transportation

If you don’t have your own transportation, find an apartment close to public transit so it’s easy to get around.

Pets

Would you like to bring your pet? Not all apartments allow pets and those that do are likely to have some rules around pets. In addition, you may want to look into getting renters insurance that covers pet-related incidents. Note that some policies restrict certain types of breeds, like Pit Bull Terriers and German Shepherds. 

Planning Your Finances 

You may dream of a trendy studio apartment in the heart of the city, but your budget may relegate you to a more affordable option a little farther away. Finances play a big role in where you eventually settle. But with some planning, you may be able to find a happy medium. 

First, crunch the numbers:

  • What is your budget for rent?
  • Are utilities included in the rent? 
  • Will you be paying extra for a parking bay or garage?
  • How much will your public transportation or vehicle running costs amount to? 
  • Will you be paying for car and renters insurance?

If the total costs are higher than your budget allows, there are ways you can make renting a college apartment more affordable.

  • Consider a roommate. This is a great way to cut costs, but choose wisely. Pick a roommate with a similar lifestyle and habits. Remember, a bad roommate who breaks the rules could get you kicked out of the apartment. 
  • Get a part-time job. You may not even need to leave your apartment — there are online jobs for students like freelance copywriting or teaching English online.  

Preparing to Move 

Once you’ve found the right apartment, it’s time to pack. The easiest way to do it is to pack by room, i.e. kitchen, bathroom, living room, office/study area. Label boxes clearly so that the movers can immediately put the boxes in the correct room, ready for you to unpack.  

Moving Day

Moving homes is one of life’s most stressful events. With a little planning and forethought, you can breeze through it.

  • Decide on whether to move yourself or hire a moving company. Weigh up cost-saving versus time-saving. Hiring a moving company is an extra cost but it may save time and be more convenient. There are also moving companies who specialize in helping students move at more affordable rates.
  • If you’ve decided to tackle the move yourself, gather some troops to help with the heavy lifting. Mom, dad and friends may be happy to help. As a thank you, treat them to some snacks and drinks in an end-of-moving-day party.
  • Be prepared emotionally. Moving day can be emotional, not just for your parents, but also for you. Don’t worry, though, mom and dad will always be a phone call away when you need them! 

Moving day doesn’t have to be stressful. Keep these tips in mind for a smooth move!

Adulting Student Life

A College Student’s Guide to Retirement

November 22, 2021

As a college student, retirement is probably the furthest thing from your mind. You might not even know exactly what you want to do for a living yet. 

But, it’s never too early to start saving money and thinking about your future. The more focus you put on your retirement now, the easier it will be to set financial goals throughout your life and live comfortably in your golden years. You might even be able to retire early!

So, what are some of the basics to consider if you want to start planning and saving for retirement? 

Know How to Invest

One of the best ways to save money for retirement is to educate yourself on investing. Your mind might immediately go to stocks and bonds, but a good rule of thumb is to diversify your investments. It’s less risk, especially when you’re starting out, and could yield a greater return. You can diversify by investing in things like:  

  • Mutual funds
  • Savings accounts
  • Index funds
  • ETFs

It’s okay to think outside of the box when it comes to investments, too. If you’ve always been interested in real estate, consider purchasing a rental property. Does a friend of yours have a vineyard? Consider investing in their wine company. You can have some fun with your money while making smart choices with it. 

Understanding which investments are taxable can also help you decide which ones are right for you. Try to have a mix of taxable and non-taxable retirement accounts, like 401(k)s and company bonuses. There are steps you can take before and after you stop working to limit the taxes you’ll have to pay once you retire, so don’t be afraid to do your research on the best investments now and in the future. 

Set Achievable Goals

When you’re in college, it’s easy to dream big. You’ve got the world at your fingertips and everything seems possible.  

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with setting big goals. But, when it comes to your finances, the smarter option is to set smaller, achievable goals for the rest of your life that you can achieve before moving on to the next one. Some of your savings goals could include: 

  • Saving for a car
  • Saving for a house
  • Paying off your student loans
  • Getting rid of other debt

By mapping out your financial goals, you’ll get a clearer picture of your budget, so you can determine how much money can be put away each month for your retirement. As you start to reach some of your goals, you can start saving more money and adjust your budget. It’s a life-long process that can require consistent “tweaking”. But, it will make a big difference in your long-term financial success. 

It’s okay to have fun with your money right now but be smart with it. Thinking about your retirement and what you want to do with your life now will make it easier to achieve your financial goals in the future. Keep these tips in mind to start putting more focus on your finances and what you really want out of your eventual retirement. 

BIO: Sam Bowman has a passion for learning. As a seasoned professional writer, he specializes in topics about people, education, tech and how they merge. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.

Student Life

7 Tips to Create the Perfect Study Environment

November 17, 2021

Many essential factors, both good and bad, contribute to a person’s academic success. However, looking at all the possible things that could go wrong won’t do you any good. You will create doubts and demotivate yourself.

Instead of thinking about things that could go wrong, be proactive in setting yourself up for success. The best way anyone can do this is to create an environment where they thrive as learners without any distractions.

People often overlook their study environment, but it can make a huge difference in how well you perform.

Stay organized

Being organized is crucial when it comes to studying. We’re not talking about the learning process itself. Sometimes it’s random, and you can learn with different techniques.

Start with cleaning up the clutter. Set the time when you will start learning and make sure that you don’t have any other obligations. Ensure you won’t be bothered by using headphones if you’re studying in a library or public place, or letting your roommates know not to disturb you.

Make your study environment optimal and organized. If you’re using a computer, consider getting different types of power cords that can help you hide all the wires and make your work area neat. Keep all your learning materials in a single place, and be prepared to start learning at any time.

Find a suitable study location

People study in all kinds of different places. No matter where you are studying, you need to feel comfortable without distractions. Consider studying in your bedroom, office, the library, a coffee shop, or a co-working space.

Some people can also learn in shared learning spaces, so think about these options as well. Once you find a spot you like, stick with it and create your routine around it. And remember, switching up your learning location can also be a good thing from time to time.

Keep your phone away

One of the biggest distractions today is the smartphone. Nearly everyone is used to being on their phones at any given moment during the day. We have a habit of looking at phones while drinking coffee, in bed, on the toilet, and so on.

It’s a very negative habit when it comes to studying. Reaching for your smartphone can not only disrupt your current learning process, but it will also likely occupy your mind with irrelevant information. Turn your phone to silent mode and if you have to, move it into another room. If you get notifications on your laptop or smart watch, remember to mute those as well!

Try music

There are many studies that explore the effects of music on our brains. Music can help us in so many different ways, and some people can even learn better with music. They use it as a tool to keep things fun and go through their lessons more easily.

Let’s face it when you’re doing something while having fun – it’s a lot easier. Many people say that music helps them, but there is also research that confirms the benefits of music for studying. Classical or jazz music can be nice to listen to when you’re in a good study zone. If you could handle lyrics and changing beats while you’re studying, try another genre!

Make it comfortable

Taking care of practical things like noise, distractions, and clutter is essential. However, the visual experience of your study environment is also significant. Decorating your learning space with pictures, flowers, lighting, furniture, and comfy pillows can make learning easier.

At the same time, make sure to get a comfortable chair and desk so you feel more inclined to use it. Studying from your bed or couch may sound nice at first, but it might be a little too comfortable and make you sleepy.

Avoid spending time in that space when you’re not studying

When you’re spending too much time in one room, you can start to feel drained, even when you’re not studying. Everyone needs a change of scenery, especially when they’ve been studying for several hours. If you want to feel comfortable in your environment, get out of it whenever you can.

Even while you’re studying, make sure to get up, stretch, and walk to your other room or even go outside. Getting the blood flowing even for a few minutes every 30 to 90 minutes can do a lot of good.

Get inspired

What are your goals, and what motivates you to study? These are the questions you need to ask yourself. Once you’ve figured that out, make sure to add posters, photos, desktop backgrounds, quotes, or anything else that inspires you to your study room. When you’re lacking drive or motivation, you can look at these inspirations in your study room and move forward.

With these seven tips, you can easily create a more enjoyable work environment where your knowledge will grow. However, don’t make it too comfortable so that you fall asleep while studying – it’s still a learning environment, not a gaming room.

BIO: Rebecca Grey is a passionate writer & guest blogger. She loves writing and sharing her knowledge mostly in the technology industry.